Roland Emmerich To Direct Gladiatorial Drama Series ‘Those About To Die’; Peacock Hands Project Straight-To Series Order

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Peacock has handed a straight-to-series order to a gladiator drama directed by Roland Emmerich.

The NBCU streamer has given the order to Those About to Die, inspired by Daniel Mannix’s eponymous nonfiction book.

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The series is a large-scale drama set within the spectacular, complex and corrupt world of gladiatorial sports in Ancient Rome. It introduces an ensemble of diverse characters across the many layers of Roman society where sports, politics and business intersect and collide.

2022 Peacock Series & Pilot Orders

The series comes from AGC Television and will be co-financed by Europe’s High End Productions, the company set up by Herbert G. Kloiber and Constantin Film, which has distribution rights in Europe.

Deadline understands that the production budget is around $140M and that further production partners across Latin America, Middle East and Asia are expected to be added before the start of production in Italy in the first quarter of 2023.

Moonfall and Independence Day director Emmerich will helm and exec produce via his Centropolis Entertainment banner. Oscar nominee Robert Rodat, who wrote Saving Private Ryan, will write and exec produce.

Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari and Street Entertainment’s Harald Kloser also will executive produce alongside High End’s Oliver Berben, Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz and Jonas Bauer. AGC CEO Stuart Ford and Chief Content Officer Lourdes Diaz also are EPs.

AGC International will handle worldwide distribution rights outside of the Europe.

Those About To Die takes on Ancient Rome in a completely new way,” said Lisa Katz, president scripted content, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “While the series will be epic in scope and have the spectacle of gladiators and chariot racing, it also has unexpected characters amidst palace intrigue and a dark criminal underworld. We jumped at the opportunity to partner with the unmatched creative minds of Roland Emmerich, Robert Rodat, Harald Kloser, AGC Studios and Gianni Nunnari’s Hollywood Gang to create this bold, action-packed series for Peacock audiences.”

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